The packaging is pretty fancy, which I would expect after their expense. The box resembles a box of chocolates, complete with silver tie and label. Open it up, and your Rockerz are tucked inside some confetti.
This confetti will quickly be scattered all over your domicile unless you dispose of it quickly. Learn from my fail.
Stitch took one guard and started doing some weird Conga dance in the living room with it, while Dad and I inspected and measured with the other. Yes, they really do have a wider base; wider by an eighth of an inch or so. Yes, the edges are truly rounder, mirroring the rounding off that happens as "regular" blade guards get old. The tread on them is truly deep, making the old guards seem flat by comparison. They are easier to put on and take off, I've had less struggling with them.
Click to Embiggen
We shrugged, tucked them into the Zuca, and waited for the big test on Saturday.
Saturday morning, we headed out to the rink, I laced up Stitch and sent him traipsing around in the new Guards. He said they were, in fact, easier to walk in. He felt safer navigating the stairs in his skates, and he liked having the "cooler" guards on the boards.
That's well and good, but I snagged them and took them around to other skaters, parents and coaches.
The results were decidedly mixed.
Big Guy Skater, a boy in Freestyle 5 or 6, didn't like them. "They're awful," he said.
"Why?" I asked. "I just need an opinion."
"That wavy design," he pointed. "I don't like it."
"Okay," I thanked him for his time and moved on.
The Synchro Girls, however, adored the wavy design. "It's so cute! I love it!" they passed the guards around. "Does it come in pink?"
"Not only does it come in pink, you can choose the spring color."
They were sold. When I mentioned the price, they looked around furtively for their parents.
I asked two girls heading into freestyle class, but their dad was dismissive of me, saying that they were going to miss class if they didn't hurry.
Apparently he didn't see them attempt to skip class, as they hid behind the ice door and shared an MP3 player until a Coach caught them and shooed them back on the ice.
I asked another boy what he thought, and he looked at it strangely. "Why is it shaped like s seahorse?"
"Huh. I guess it does kind of look like a seahorse."
"Where can I buy them? I think they're cool!"
So I referred him to the website.
A Freestyle 4 girl literally stopped me as I was carrying them. "Where did you get those? They're so cool!"
"Oh yeah? Why do you think they're cool?"
"Because they stick up over the boards, and they have the cool swirlies!"
"They're more expensive than your other guards, though. Do you think your mom would mind?"
"Oh, no..." she seemed convinced.
The Coaches were not too impressed. "It's nice," said one. "But it's a guard."
"I dunno," said another. "It feels flimsier to me." This is weird since Dad and I liked their heft. When we measured, we could see the blade was actually an eighth of an inch higher off the ground than in a traditional guard.
Parents fell into two distinct camps. The moms in fur coats and Prada bags thought these guards were way cool and wanted to know where to find them. Moms like me were shaking their heads and rolling their eyes.
"It's a guard," said one of my fellow costumers. "Do you know how long it takes my son to lose a set of blade guards?"
"Five days?" I ventured.
"Three. No way would I pay that much for something that gets lost in three days."
Another mom handled them while her daugher looked on with puppy eyes. "They're pretty slick," she admitted.
Fellow Mom and I swapped a look. "They're thirty bucks," I said.
"Is anything cheap here?" Mom throws up her hands.
Probably not, but we do have some pretty nifty accessories.
So, what's my Honest Opinion of Rockerz?
They're not all bad. If you don't trust Grandma to buy a dress for your Skater, she can't really go wrong with buying a set of Rockerz. If your skater has worked hard to achieve a goal, pass a test, or win in a tight field, a set of these would be a nice bonus to accompany that victory. As a Gift, they're a nice necessity with a luxury touch.
The packaging helps.
The reality remains that a lot of us are trying to cut costs and corners where we can, and an expensive set of guards just doesn't fit that budget. "Maybe if they lit up..." one mom mused.
Yes, because heaven knows we need more blinky blade guards.
But here's a bonus: The postcard that comes with them explains that they are indeed made out of 100% recycled material, and they're 100% recycleable. If you can manage to hang onto them for a decent length of time, you're buying a sustainable product. Even if you do lose them, someone who likes swirls is bound to steal them out of the lost and found and they will keep on being used.
So, if you're sold on Rockerz, you can buy a pair from the website, http://www.rockerzskateguards.com/, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the record, I think the wooden blade guards discussed in the comments in the previous Rockerz post sound like the most badass things ever. I would be more than happy to invest in http://www.badassbladeguards.com/. (Not a real website.)